Der Dekan and the new photo box

It's not the first time that I'm blogging about my photo setup. The last time was for a Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival. I talked about cat hair, daylight lamps, my old camera and more. That was in 2020.
One year ago, things had changed as der Dekan discovered the light tent. He has not been able to stay out of it since then. We had some epic fights in which I tried to remove him from the tent and he tried to hold on to everything around him with his claws, including my acrylic plate.

The other day, I decided something had to be done after der Dekan had visited the light tent a few more times, this time trying to get behind the cardboard in the back, the fabric on the side and the plate. He almost came down with the whole thing more than once.
It was obvious that I needed a photo box I could close. I had a look around and found that for the box to be a bit sturdier than my light tent I would have to give up my daylight lamps and settle for light strips inside the box instead which is annoying when you use a mirror background. They all looked pretty much the same, so I finally chose one and set it up last night.

It's portable, therefore the edges hold together with velcro. Only time will tell if that will hold up to feline attacks. The two light strips kind of make the top sturdier than the old tent. However, der Dekan has already been up there twice so far, and I'm not sure if they are going to be strong enough for that, so I'm thinking about taking them off after each photo session. On the other hand, I'm also not so sure if the velcro alone will stand up to his furry butt!

Of course he's not all that happy about me taking his wonderful cat cave away, but I will put it in the other room for him to play in until he will have got tired of it which I guess may be sooner rather than later if it's not forbidden anymore.

The things we do for or because of our furry overlords, huh?
Now I have to learn working with this new box and especially the lights which I'm not all that happy about yet, sigh.
And der Dekan has to learn not to throw a tantrum about not being able to enter the new box, come running, and knocking one of my pictures off the wall! Little punk.


Dawn on vacation

Still summer, still hot ... Dawn desperately needed a vacation. Other than Jessica last year, she didn't plan just a weekend stay, so some thought would have to go into the packing.

First of all, Dawn decided on doing something drastic (which even I had thought about in a weak moment the other day and that really says something).
She needed a haircut and other than me she didn't want "as much as necessary, as little as possible". She didn't want a pixie, she wasn't that brave, but a good deal had to go. There, her head felt so much lighter now and the hat fit better, too!
Dawn loves this hat because she can wear it so many ways. The brim is folded up and embellished in one spot which she can wear in front like she had seen on a Hercule Poirot episode once - even if the sun hat shown had had a much wider brim - in the back or how she finally wore it, on the side.

With temperatures like the ones we have these days, Dawn insisted on a tank top, best in a fresh color. The lime green one wouldn't have been my personal choice, but she was right after all, it worked great with the new black linen pants and her favorite old leather belt.
Just the white sneakers with the rubber soles now and she was all set.
For jewelry she chose a simple bracelet.

At first, she wanted to travel light with a small backpack - I couldn't help but point out that it reminded me very much of a grumpy face. Come on, don't tell me you don't see it, too.

Then, however, she got Granddad's battered old leather suitcase from the attic after all.
You never know when you feel like going out dancing, do you? Her favorite mini dresses went into the suitcase, however, when I asked her if she wanted to take high heels, sandals or ballerinas for those, she said her sneakers would work just fine.

I'm sure she has everything she needs, and if not, she can always go shopping.

Now an extra information about Dawn, I hope she won't mind me telling you that.
There are Topper dolls that have visible nipples and bellybuttons and she's one of them. I completely forgot to take a picture of her before she was dressed, so you will just have to believe me.

So, Dawn has left for her trip, I wonder if she'll bring me a gift back from wherever she's going to!
At least she has already sent me these pictures from one of the local sculptures ... which looks strangely familiar to me ;-)

For those who are interested in beading techniques:
- The tank top and belt are peyote.
- The pants, the sneakers (except for the soles), and the backpack are Herringbone. The "zipper" does not open, by the way, I'm a beader, not a sorceress.
- The suitcase is bead embroidered on white backing and lined with a dark blue satin fabric. The inside straps are faux suede with golden jumprings. Like for the backpack, I used two different browns to enhance the feel of worn leather. The edges and the center of the bottom are a narrow metal tape that I filed down a bit for the battered look. The buckles and hinges are golden Delica beads.

Dawn was a registered trademark of the Topper Company. I am not affiliated with Topper in any way.


The hedgehog that almost got away

Yesterday I made another little hedgehog (in fact another one today, one of them will be a gift). As I have run out of the gunmetal wire that I used to use for the quills, but still have a big spool of brown wire from when I thought I wanted to crochet a tree (turned out I didn't after all), I wanted to try that for the quills.

Shortly after I got a surprise visit and showed the hedgehog. That was the last time I saw it. We are talking about 3.2 cm or 1 1/4 inch here, not something that you see easily.
I searched everywhere. Usually my desk drawer is a temporary stop for pieces, so I won't lose them before the description is written, pictures taken, etc., but not this time.
Although it didn't make any sense, I dug down to the bottom. Why would I not put it on top if I wanted to take pictures next?
I went on to check shelves, the cabinet next to me, I even looked in the fridge! I called my visitor to ask if she had accidentally taken it home.

Of course friends of mine whom I whined at were convinced that the guilty party was rather small himself, furry, striped and very quick. I have to admit that part of me thought the same thing. Der Dekan has a really hard time keeping his thieving paws off stuff lying around unguarded. Only the hedgehog wasn't unguarded at all, I really thought two people would have noticed a cat stealing something right from under our noses. He's never subtle about it, more like "Yahoo! Got it and now I'm going to kick it around like crazy and then hide it where you have to crawl in to retrieve it!"
No, I was pretty sure it had been my own stupidity.

This morning I called my visitor to tell her that I had still not been successful. We contemplated a few more possible spots when my eye fell on the cup/saucer/plate that she had brought me (and which you will hear more about in a nostalgia post eventually, sorry). Maybe I had put the hedgehog in the cup when I put it in the other cabinet (not the one I had checked)??
Nope. Not in the cup, not on the saucer, not on the plate .... but it was happily sitting right next to it!
You have no idea how relieved I was. I would have found him there maybe in a few days, weeks or months, but this was much better for my sanity!

And here are both of them together now. Is it me or is there a smug look on their faces?
Der Dekan got compensated for having been suspected, by the way. His feelings were very hurt, he thinks he's the most innocent cat in the whole world, maybe even galaxy. Oh boy.


Seeing spots - A JAC challenge

What's your first thought when you hear "spots"? Mine were lampwork beads with dots, but when I checked out my stash, I found that I had used most of them, and I simply didn't have an idea for one lonely lampwork bead (yet).
My second thought for the Jewelry Artisans Community July/August challenge, however, were sequin spots on ladybugs. Now that was something I could do, even if a bead order was necessary to finish the project.

Ladybugs have turned up in my work several times, in bead loomed bracelets, earrings, even as the one polymer clay sculpture that I really like.
All of them have seven spots like the original Coccinella septempunctata, the European ladybug, a species which has also been introduced to the USA.
Have you ever seen clusters of ladybugs, in your house or on an outside wall for example? Those were probably Asian ladybugs or harlequins. They were introduced to the USA for controlling aphid populations and also came to Europe from there, but have proven to be a very invasive species. They come in different colors and can have any kind of number of spots on their elytras.
I remember seeing clusters like these twice, once on the bathroom window of a hotel room that had been left open. Luckily, the door to the hotel room itself had been closed! The other time was on a path just outside Cambridge. There were so many of them that we decided to take a different path because it would have been impossible not to step on them.

These ladybug earrings are the European kind as you can tell from the number of their spots, black sequins that sit on bead embroidered red wings.
They come on their own "leaves", an edging from matte green AB cube beads.

Challenge goal achieved! :-)

P.S. A little tip - don't spill black sequins on a black surface, especially not if it's already night. Actually, don't spill shiny black sequins at all. I spent more time than I liked with picking them off my hand with a needle because they kept clinging to it.
P.P.S. I have been thinking of making melon earrings in the same manner. What do you think, good idea or are there enough melons around already?


A little hedgehog in the garden

I have never seen a hedgehog in our garden before. Maybe there has been one, but if so, it didn't show itself to me.
Today, however, we had a little guest, Geppo (Geppo is named after the alleged founder of my hometown Göppingen who was an
Alemannic chieftain).
He had to be carried from spot to spot because it was hot and it's very hard to walk long distances or even climb something if you are not even a full 1 1/2 inch!

The first stop were a few succulents, but Geppo quickly became bolder and wanted to go higher and higher!

Next stop - Mt. Angelhead!

Impressed by his own courage, Geppo's next goal was Mt. Lionhead. "I'm afraid of no lion!"

You are not impressed? Well, how about now?

After that our little hedgehog was tired, very hot and very thirsty, so a trip to the birdbath was in order.

And here are a few flowers which were too shaky for Geppo to sit on, so he had a look at them from my hand.

For those who don't know, like my other hedgehogs Geppo is a miniature crocheted from copper wire after my original design. None of my hedgehogs ever looks exactly like the other. Geppo, for example, has bronze coated hematite eyes and a sparkly crystal nose :-)